Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) Questions Athlete's Foot

Can anyone get athlete's foot?

I think I am suffering from athlete's foot (there is a painful split in the skin where my toe meets my foot, and itching, but I didn't suffer any injury) but I have no idea where I could've gotten it. I don't shower in public places or use public pools. Where could this have come from? Am I now at risk of spreading it to my husband and kids?

15 Answers


Yes, when you have a crack in the skin it is most likely a fungal infection. It can come from as you mentioned public areas but these also include pedicure places. I recommend that you treat it with a topical anti-fungal cream like Lamsil once daily for 10 days. It can spread in moist environments to other people in the house, so, to prevent this, use a shoe and floor sanitizing spray.

Dr. Patel
Yes. Athlete's foot is caused by fungus. Fungus is prevalent everywhere. Excessive moisture (i.e., shoes from sweaty feet, or exposure to wet environment) can cause fungi to thrive more and grow out of control.
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It's hard to confirm whether it's athlete's foot or not without seeing your foot or a picture of your foot. Does your feet sweat a lot? Maybe it could be due to not completely drying between toes after taking shower? The risk of spreading to other is very minimal unless it's a direct contact to other people's skin with a break or indirect contact such as sharing towel, socks, shoes or floor that could have fungus left on it.
Yes, anyone can get athlete’s foot. It’s a fungal infection that grows in your shoes. I would try an OTC anti fungal product for a week or so and if you see some improvement continue with it. If not seek treatment with a podiatrist.
Yes, anyone can get athletes foot. There are several forms of fungus that can cause it. One common form lives in soil so you can be exposed without ever going to a gym. It can be contagious to your family, but different people have different susceptibility so not everyone exposed will develop athletes foot. If the OTC products do not work, your podiatrist can test your skin to be sure you have a fungus and determine which treatment will be best for you.

Kathleen Neuhoff, DPM
Athlete’s feet can be the result of not drying between your toes throughly causing painful splitting and laceration between the toes. It is contagious and can be transferred to your family. A visit to a podiatrist is recommended,
Fungal infections are more common in warm weather when feet tend to sweat more. Fungus thrives in damp areas, such as swimming pools, showers and locker rooms. Athletes often have sweaty feet and use the facilities where fungus is commonly found, thus the term "athlete's foot."

No, you are not at risk of spreading tinea pedis infection to your husband or kids.
Athletes foot is the same as ringworm and should be treated since it’s contagious. Any time one has a crack in the skin, we are susceptible to the fungus entering and spreading.
Fungus exists everywhere in the environment. Athlete's foot is common and the treatment simple and effective. You should try topical lamisil twice daily. If it doesn't resolve it's time to see a podiatrist.
Anyone can get athletes foot and what you described to me certainly sounds suspect. I recommend you rotate your shoe gear, allowing it to give your shoes an opportunity to dry out. This would definitely warrant a trip to the podiatrist.
Fungus likes dark, moist environments. If your feet perspire or you have excess moisture from wearing shoes, this could be a cause. It is possible to spread it to other people.

Jonathan M. Kletz, DPM
Fungal spores are everywhere. All that is needed is the right conditions to grow. Initial treatment would consist of Epsom salt soaks daily and topical antifungal cream. If not better in 3 weeks, then seek professional help.

Geoffrey Bricker, DPM
You first need confirmation by a medical exam (and possible culture) that it is a fungus infection, and not another skin problem.
Athlete's foot is a representation of a superficial skin infection produced by mold like fungi that are environmentally acquired. It is noted to be contagious. Environments that tend to be warm and moist are quite conducive to this type of fungal growth. The majority of these infections are produced by a class of fungi known as dermatophytes. They are sensitive to many topical antifungal products that are readily available over-the-counter. These do respond quite favorably after a few days to a
few weeks of use. Good hygienic care of the feet to prevent exposure to environments conducive to this type of mold-like growth is critical specifically gym showers, pool decks and other areas of high traffic. It must be appreciated that there are other types of dermatitis that can produce similar findings of athlete's foot to include redness, scaling, itchiness and if your condition does not respond timely to traditional anti-fungal preparations it may be of benefit to have the skin eruption or rash evaluated by a medical provider. Skin scraping can be performed painlessly to determine if there are presence of fungal elements. If sterile you may be suffering from a noninfectious dermatitis that may better respond to other treatment such as topical steroids or lotions.
Feet in general are constantly in shoes and socks which is a warm, dark, moist area which can be a breeding ground for fungus. It is difficult to say exactly why you have developed itching, cracking and scaling on your feet but the most common issues I see are foot fungus of the skin and dermatitis of the skin. I recommend you start OTC lotrisone which has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory medication in it. Spray all of your shoes with lysol on the inside weekly as well. Feel free to call the office if you have more questions and I wish you the best of luck.